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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Primarily to entertain rather than inform. The city of Altomare looks very much like Venice, Italy, and introduces a city of canals and splendid architecture.
An opening song encourages everyone to fulfill their destinies. "Everyone has a dream that fills their hearts." Ash's dream is presented as his quest to become the world's greatest Pokemon master. As in all the Pokemon movies, villains are defeated by the forces of good.
Positive Role Models
The human Pokemon heroes exhibit traits that serve them well: courage, selflessness, quick-thinking, loyalty, and empathy. They are aided by the troops of good Pokemon. Villains are always greedy, selfish, and ultimately defeated. Female characters hold their own with the males and are the villains in this movie. There's a minimal effort to acknowledge ethnic diversity.
Violence & Scariness
Waves and/or funnels of water crash and threaten the beautiful city of Altomare more than once. Characters are submerged, struggle, but finally escape the raging waters. Two sea creature-guardians (Latios and Latias) are in jeopardy for much of the film; their screeches are piercing. The frequent cartoon action includes: thunderbolts, chases, force fields, falls, and electric shocks. "The Defense Mechanism of Altomare," described as the most powerful weapon ever built, subdues its victims, goes out of control, and threatens everyone. Evil-looking fossils appear and wreak havoc on the humans, the Pokemon, and most terribly on Latias and Latios, the guardians of the city.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some female characters, most notably the villains, wear revealing clothing (bare midriffs and backs, tight-fitting). Some very mild flirting.
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Products & Purchases
The Pokemon films continue to be an effective marketing tool for all Pokemon products -- games, cards, toys, etc.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pokemon Heroes, the fifth film in the Pokemon series, stays true to the franchise's focus on cartoon action. There are lots of battles, many characters in danger from one-dimensional villains and their weapons, and the ongoing threat of a beautiful, peaceful city's destruction. No one is seriously injured, but some characters are knocked out for a time, and one central legendary "guardian" vanishes, supposedly giving his life to save his city -- it's never spoken of as a death, but as if he is now in some other, better place. Positive messages about fulfilling dreams and destiny, as well as the ever-present "good triumphs over evil," get some attention and frame the almost nonstop physical conflict. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This lackluster fifth Pokemon movie has some briefly lovely background paintings, but other than that it's below average for the series. It's too violent and confusing for younger kids and doesn't have enough character, plot, or visual interest to engage older kids.
There are three reasons that children are drawn to characters like Pokemon. First is the perennial appeal of characters who appear to be weak but have hidden sources of power. Kids, who live in a world of powerful giants are drawn to stories of transformations and secret strength. Second, the many facts to memorize about Pokemon give children a chance to master something, giving them a sense of power and competence. Third, as children start to develop social skills, fads like Pokemon provide a shared language that can help those conversations and imaginative games get started.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.